What is your position on the export of raw logs? That’s a question The Discourse heard after we asked what questions you have for provincial election candidates.
We sent the question to candidates in the Nanaimo riding. B.C. Liberal candidate Kathleen Jones did not respond to the request by the deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.
The Discourse is offering pop-up election coverage in Nanaimo based on feedback from residents. Sign up to get our stories straight to your inbox. If enough people want us to continue in-depth coverage in Nanaimo, we’ll stick around.
Lia Versaevel, B.C. Green Party
I unequivocally support a ban on the export of raw logs. Despite premier John Horgan’s pledge last year to keep raw logs in B.C., they are still being exported, leading to mill closures and the loss of thousands of good-paying jobs in rural communities throughout the province.
According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, B.C. exported nearly 26 million cubic metres of wood worth an estimated $3 billion between 2013 and 2016. Think what we could do if those logs were used to develop an integrated wood processing industry. They could provide local lumber for affordable housing construction, furniture, docks, smaller bridges, and other finished wood products.
Sheila Malcolmson, B.C. NDP
Under the BC Liberals, there was a significant increase in raw log exports, fibre was left in the forest and a concentration of harvesting rights. So in, January 2019, the BC NDP government announced a new strategy for the coastal forestry sector, centered on five goals:
1-Process more logs and fibre in BC
2-Make changes to ensure more fibre is available for BC mills, including in the pulp and paper industry
3-Ensure bids on timber sale license are independent
4-Ensure meaningful relationships between BC timber sales, major licensees and Indigenous communities
5-Restore people’s confidence in how forests are managed
Since then, the BC NDP has brought in changes, like “fibre recovery zones” to get as much value out of the forests as possible and new rules to reduce the number of raw logs being exported. Our platform takes this important work further. A re-elected BC NDP government will work with industry, labour and communities to dedicate a specific portion of the annual allowable cut towards higher value producers who can demonstrate their ability to create new jobs for workers right here in British Columbia. This plan will reduce raw log exports and create more jobs for forest-dependent communities.